Family heritage study hits the spot with Koroit pupils

KOROIT and District Primary School pupils are exploring the town’s rich Aboriginal and Irish heritage through singing and performance in a new program funded by Arts Victoria.

Brothers Kevin, 8 (left), and Michael White, 11, originally from Ireland, and Fern Knowles, 8, originally from Thailand, place stickers on a map of the world as Koroit and District Primary School pupils plot their family heritage as part of class studies. 140716RG02 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Brothers Kevin, 8 (left), and Michael White, 11, originally from Ireland, and Fern Knowles, 8, originally from Thailand, place stickers on a map of the world as Koroit and District Primary School pupils plot their family heritage as part of class studies. 140716RG02 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Run by the Black Arm Band Company in partnership with the school, about 70 pupils from grades 3-6 will take part in the ‘Where I Come From Matters’ program.

Launched this week, it encourages the children to discover their own personal identity and background, with a focus on Koroit’s Irish and indigenous connections.

Around 100 people attended the program’s launch barbecue for what was “rollicking good fun”, principal Michelle Bickley-Miller said.

Where I Come From Matters is the first extended residency for the Black Arm Band Company, program facilitator Lisa Maza said.

“It makes sense to do it with Koroit and District Primary School as our founding members and pioneers of Aboriginal contemporary music, Archie Roach and Shane Howard, are local to the region,” Ms Maza said.

Pupils have already helped write a song about where they come from, which will be performed in a concert at Koroit Theatre on August 14 to mark the end of the program. 

Shakira Blain, 11, said she had learnt much about her family history while researching for the program.

“I learnt my grandpa migrated from Italy, which I didn’t know before,” she said.

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